November 2014, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put a six month ban on commercial and recreational fishing of cod from Provincetown, Massachusetts, up to the Canadian border, due to declining cod populations. The ban has angered many fishermen who feel like the government hasn’t done enough to manage cod stocks and that NOAA’s assessment could be wrong. Since 1982, when monitoring of cod stocks began, there was a 90% decline of cod in the Gulf of Maine. Within the past five years stocks have declined by 77%. Despite decades of regulations cod stocks are at 3% to 4% of what a well-managed population should be at. In efforts to take pressure off cod stocks, organizations such as The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Sandy Hook Sea Life Foundation and Greenpeace filed a petition under the Administrative Procedure Act, which insists Fisheries Service to follow the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requirement to rebuild overfished species. Apart of this petition it stated that quota limits for other targeted fish like haddock should be raised, to reduce mortality of cod, allowing them to multiply and expand their habitat.
To soften the blow of the ban and previous cod quota cuts, Congress allocated $32.8 million to the New England groundfish fishery. One-third of the money went to fishermen, one-third to individual states to use at their own discretion, and one-third to federal and state representatives to create programs to pay fishermen to exit the fishery.
Audio: NPR report